Norman Love named head jury member for 2013 World Chocolate Masters competition in Paris
Written by SFG Staff
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 19:55
The World Chocolate Masters, the world’s premier culinary competition devoted solely to the art of chocolate, has invited Fort Myers-based chocolatier Chef Norman Love to be the head jury member for the 2013 competition to be held Oct. 28 to 30 in Paris.
Love, chef/owner of Norman Love Confections, will oversee a group of 10 international jury members that will be judging assignments related to artistic and technical skills of the contestants. His role will include briefing the jury members at the beginning of each assignment focusing on the different points that should be considered, interviews with moderators and international journalists, and tasting but not voting except in the case of a tie.
“I am humbled by this appointment,” said Love who was a jury member at the 2011 World Chocolate Masters event.. “The World Chocolate Masters is recognized as the world’s most prestigious chocolate competition.”
The Fort Myers Chocolate Salon, at 11380 Lindbergh Blvd., is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Naples Chocolate Salon, which also serves artisan gelato, at 3747 Tamiami Trail North in Parkshore Centre, is open during the holidays on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Artisan Gelato by Norman Love, at 11300 Lindbergh Blvd., Suite 112, off Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers, east of I-75, is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.normanloveconfections.com.
Want to compete with the best and win a trip to Spain? 5th Copa Jerez US Competition!
Written by Press Release
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 02:19
Every two years, the bodegas of Jerez, Spain, join together to host the International Copa Jerez Competition, where chef and sommelier teams representing eight nations compete to see who can create the perfect food and Sherry matches.
Now accepting submissions from chef and sommelier teams nationwide to earn the right to represent the USA at the International Competition in Jerez, Spain, in October of 2013!All submissions must be received at
by no later than May 7th, 2013
Now in its fifth year, Copa Jerez has become a world renowned event that crowns the chef / sommelier team who create the best food and Sherry pairings. The competition attracts the best chefs and sommeliers from Spain, the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, the United States, Denmark, Belgium, and Japan, with each participating country sending their national team to compete at the 5th International Copa Jerez Competition in October of this year.
Participants must be a chef/sommelier team from a working restaurant, who are challenged to create the perfect food and Sherry match for each of three courses — a starter, main course, and dessert. Teams may select any style of Sherry to match with each course, but no more than two wines can be from a single bodega.
During the live finals, an elite judging panel with experience and expertise in Sherry, wine pairing, and the culinary arts, will evaluate the dishes based on presentation, marriage of Sherry and food, and the most articulate description and knowledgeable explanation of the match. Past judges have included Juan Mari Arzak, Juli Soler, Jancis Robinson, MW, Pontus Elofsson, Jordi Roca, Heston Blumenthal, and our own Julian Serrano, Michael Franz, and Doug Frost MS, MW.
Past sommelier /chef teams from the USA, who have competed at the highest level and made us all very proud, include: Seamus Mullen and Roger Kugler of New York, Andy Nusser and Nancy Selzer of New York, Tim Fitzgerald and Curt Herrmann of Tulsa, and last year's US National competition winners and international representatives, from the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Bertrand Bouquin and Tim Baldwin.
For more information about the competition and for the complete rules and regulations please contact Kate Burgess at
‘Wines In The Garden’ at Joey’s Italian Café, Wynwood
Written by SFG Staff
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 02:05
Starting on Thursday, April 25th 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m Joey’s Italian Café in Wynwood offers a series of al fresco wine tastings to showcase a rotating roster of wines from around the globe, paired with light bites prepared by Veneto-born Executive Chef Ivo Mazzon.
This week features tastings from Argentina’s Ferllen Winery and importer of premium Italian wines Vinifera Imports hosted by representatives from both companies as well as a buffet with sausage braised with red wine, assorted canapés, Italian meats and cheeses and more. Space is limited and reservations are required. $30 per person.Joey’s Italian Café, 2506 N.W. 2nd Avenue in Wynwood (305) 438-0488 www.joeyswynwood.com.
Now open to the public is Piattelli Vineyards’ new, state-of-the-art winery and vineyards located in the town of Cafayate, Argentina.
This new winery owned by Minnesota natives Jon and Arlene Malinski adds an 80 thousand case capacity to the 40 thousand produced by Piattelli's Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza estate. Piattelli currently produces Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Torrontés, Rosé, and two wines which blend Malbec, Cabernet, and Merlot grapes: Capriccio on the Premium Reserve level ($10-$20), and Trinitá on the Grand Reserve level ($20-$30). Piattelli owner Jon Malinski is not a Napa Valley native with a legacy in the wine industry, but hails instead from Minnesota with a legacy in the office equipment business. He and wife of nearly 50 years, Arlene, discovered a deep affection for Argentina after visiting in 2001.
With less than 2% of the vineyards in Argentina located in Salta, this initiative reinforces local efforts to establish Cafayate as an up-and-coming wine production region and prime tourism destination. Presently Piattelli is one of the few US companies to have invested so heavily in the Cafayate Valley.
The new winery uses its hillside location to drive one of Argentina’s few gravity-flow vinification systems, which maximizes flavor by preventing grapes from breaking prematurely, seeds from being crushed, and juice from being oxygenated and heated. What’s more, Piattelli uses innovative concrete egg wine fermenters whose curved shape optimizes circulation and increases quality by forcing the juice, pulp, and skins into more constant contact.
A significant challenge Malinski faced by locating in Cafayate was the extremely rocky land. Thousands of boulders were removed before the vineyards could be planted and the winery built. Despite these obstacles, the valley is ideal with soil that’s perfect for grapevine cultivation and a position on the valley’s slope that avoids both frost and hail—forces that ruin vintages. “With its arid–clean air, crystal–clear water, and nutrient–rich soil,” proclaims principal winemaker Valeria Antolin, “our vineyards are perfect for cultivating some of the most desirable grapes in the world.” Piattelli has 477 acres in the valley, which is divided into two farms at an altitude of 5,577 feet above sea level.
Featuring spectacular vistas, stunning scenery, and a variety of colorful terrains to explore, Cafayate Valley is a desirable tourist destination. There are many activities to enjoy including wine tours, horse-trail rides, bike tours, and shopping. Piattelli itself offers wine industry summits, art exhibitions, cultural programs, and other activities throughout the year. Piattelli’s restaurant, the area’s largest led by top chef, Facundo Belardinelli, features progressive fusions of flavors as well as unique food-wine pairings.
Cochon 555 Fifth Anniversary heads to Miami for Heritage Breed Pig cook-off
Written by SFG Staff
Friday, 12 April 2013 21:38
Arriving in Miami on Sunday, April 21, 4 p.m. (VIP); 5 p.m. (general admission) at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, Cochon 555, a traveling culinary competition and tasting tour created to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs, gathers together five chefs, five pigs and five wineries at each event.
The competing chefs are Aaron Brooks (Four Season Hotel Miami); Timon Balloo (Sugarcane); Jeffrey McInnis (Yardbird); David Thomas (The Bazaar) and Cesar Zapata (The Federal). Guests will be treated to an epic pork feast alongside wines from five small family-owned wineries including Elk Cove Vineyards, Bethel Heights, Hamacher, Montinore, and Alloro plus special tastings from Vibrant Rioja, Anchor Brewing, Eminent Domaine, Crispin Ciders, and Illegal Mezcal. Twenty judges and 400 guests help decide the winning chef, who is crowned the Prince of Pork and will compete against other regional winners at the finale Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.
VIP guests receive early access to the event and special offerings including a special tasting with three competing chefs, access to "Punch Kings" - a new cocktail competition featuring Breckenridge Bourbon and six local bartenders, a VIP-only gift bag, the all-new Tartare Bar, Rappahannock River Oysters, and reserve wines and spirits. Four Seasons Hotel Miami - Official Host of Cochon 555, 1435 Brickell Ave Miami, FL 33131Tickets: $125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP); to purchase tickets, visit www.cochon555.com
Charlie Arturaola returns to star in new Italian movie: "The Duel of wine"
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 21:18
Your friendly "neighborhood" sommelier Charlie Arturaola returns, with a superman's palate in "The duel of Wine". This is a sequel to his first film " Caminos del Vino", in which he loses his palate.
The wine trailer below was aired in this year's Vinitaly Expo which took place in Verona.
Join chef Michelle Bernstein on a Check, Please! South Florida Tasting Tour of Coconut Grove, 5/14
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Tuesday, 02 April 2013 17:26
Check, Please! South Floridareturns to WPBT2 on Monday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. with the Viewer’s Choice episode with host Michelle Bernstein and Radio Personality/Vineyard Owner, Paul Castronovo, Actress and Celebrity Interviewer Miss Finesse and Local Legend/Business Owner, Don Bailey.
Leading up to the premiere, Check, Please! South Florida Tasting Tour of Coconut Grove, on Tuesday, May 14, begins at Whole Foods Market, where host Michelle Bernstein and guests will feast on a special appetizer from Michy’s before heading to Happy Wine The Grove, El Carajo, Le Bouchon Du Grove and Berries in the Grove. Tickets are limited and will be available to the public on April 15. For more information on Season 10 or the tasting tour, visit www.checkpleasefl.com.
Motion picture and TV actor Kyle MacLachlan — Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives — poured tastings of his 2008 Pursued by Bear Cabernet Sauvignon and Baby Bear Syrah, new vintages from his Walla Walla-based wine partnership with Eric Dunham at ByWines’ headquarters in Miami.
By Wines’ addition of Pursued by Bear, a Dunham MacLachlan Cabernet Sauvignon and Baby Bear Syrah from Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, to its portfolio of fine wines reflects an exclusive marketing and sales agreement to represent Kyle MacLachlan’s wines in Florida.
Kyle MacLachlan’s interest in wine started early on in the 1970’s (he didn't like beer), and when director David Lynch, who cast MacLachlan in the movie Dune in his early 20s, discovered that the famed Chateau Lynch-Bages was a Bordeaux Grand cru, he began exchanging bottles with the actor.
But it is on the occasion of his wedding to Desiree Gruber in Miami in 2002 that he came across Dunham Cellars and befriended winemaker Eric Dunham.
Shortly after, he approached him with the idea of collaborating, and the partners decided to produce Pursued by Bear, a Cabernet Sauvignon, made at Dunham Cellars, in Walla Walla, soon followed by a hearty Syrah.
The name, suggested over dinner by fellow actor Fred Savage, comes from a quirky stage direction ("Exit, pursued by a bear") in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. MacLachlan says his foray into winemaking was a labor of love that he dreamed about for years.
2008 Pursued by Bear Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $75 . 78% Cab Sauv; 11% Merlot, 11% Syrah. alcohol 14.2% A creative collaboration between Dunham Cellars Senior Winemaker, Eric Dunham, and actor Kyle MacLachlan. sourced from the Lewis Estate Vineyard and the Phinny Hill Vineyard, the highly structured Bordeaux blend delivers an opulent nose of roasted coffee, black cherries, plums, hints of anise and herbs leading to a fruit forward, layered wine with an interesting mineral element and well-balanced tannins with a persistent finish. 411 cases. Wine should keep for at least 15 years.
2008 Baby Bear Syrah, Columbia Valley $45. This 100% Syrah from Lewis Estate and Phinny Hill vineyards spent 24 months in 100% French oak. 14.2% alchohol. It is an inky Syrah, rich and opulent, redolent with earthy aromas and hints of mountain berries, licorice and spice.
By Wines Manager Victor Passalacqua is responsible for the strategic direction and exclusive distribution of this brand in Florida. For additional information: www.bywines.com
Rémy Martin LOUIS XIII RARE CASK 42,6 retails for 18 000 € (US$ 23,151.30, but who’s counting?)
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 23:38
Pierrette Trichet, Cellar Master of the House of Rémy Martin in Cognac, France, and her deputy Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau were among selected guests from 17 countries gathered in the splendid setting of Udaipur, ‘the City of Sunrise,’ in Rajasthan, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Mewar, home to the world’s most ancient surviving royal dynasty, to launch the LOUIS XIII RARE CASK 42,6, the second in the history of the House of Remy Martin.
A “Rare Cask” is a single, extremely rare barrel among the hundreds of century-old tierçons that will one day go to make LOUIS XIII Cognac. This Rare Cask is sufficient for just 738 decanters and takes its name from its unique 42,6 degrees of alcohol.
LOUIS XIII RARE CASK 42,6 blends 1,200 eau-de-vies, 100 years in the making, here featuring salient aromas that are unique to this one precious cask – notes of plum and dates, mingling with flavors of gingerbread, prune stone and ginger, punctuated by a final touch of tobacco leaf.
LOUIS XIII RARE CASK 42,6 - all decanters will be serial numbered from 001 to 738, available from LOUIS XIII certified retailers, best palaces, hotels and restaurants (LOUIS XIII Fortress network). Suggested retail price, 18 000 € (US$ 23,151.30, but who’s counting?)
Searching for Miss Cheerwine contestants - Deadline April 5
Written by press release
Sunday, 10 March 2013 21:40
Press Release -- Cheerwine,www.cheerwine.com, the legendary soft drink of the South, kicks off its third annual search for Miss Cheerwine by making it the company’s largest search to date.
Females between the ages of 21 and 29, residents of Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, West Virginia and Washington D.C. will be eligible to enter, as well as those from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Georgia, are encouraged to apply for the year-long position, which will include representing the iconic brand and making appearances at select sporting events, concerts and media opportunities.
The contest will open on March 4, and the deadline for final submissions is April 5. Cheerwine judges will choose three finalists, who will each create a video introducing themselves to fans via the brand’s Facebook page. Public voting will determine which applicant best embodies Cheerwine’s signature effervescence and individuality. Miss Cheerwine 2013 will be announced on or about June 5.
For more information on Miss Cheerwine, to vote, apply or view program guidelines and requirements, visit the Miss Cheerwine Search tab on Cheerwine’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Cheerwine .
Owned and distributed by the Carolina Beverage Corporation and Cheerwine Bottling Company in Salisbury, N.C., the 96-year-old company is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family.
Spirited Sirens launches Beer, Bites & Babes educational booze seminars for women, Wed, March 13
Written by SFG
Sunday, 10 March 2013 17:21
Spirited Sirens, a new series of educational seminars primarily geared towards women and artisanal imbibing will debut on Wednesday, March 13 with Beer, Bites & Babes, 6:30 p.m. welcome beer cocktail, 7 p.m. Tasting. Spirited Siren founder Jennifer Massolo will guide the tasting event series, with a one-hour, craft beer sampling session hosted at The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions a modern tavern, which celebrates American integrity, ingenuity and craftsmanship. The cost: $25 per person includes 6:30 PM welcome beer cocktail, Tasting begins promptly at 7:00 (one hour) The Federal Food Drink & provisions, 5132 Biscayne Blvd., Miami To purchase tickets please visit: http://www.thefederalmiami.com/Site/Events
A $1500 Flask for Macallan’s first-ever, single cask All American Oak Scotch Whisky
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 21:27
The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky has partnered with Oakley to bring the aesthetics of your everyday flask into an entirely new arena with the release of The Macallan | The Flask: a container that can be dropped out of a helicopter or pulled behind a car without disrupting a fine Single Malt Scotch held within.
Made possible by the world’s most advanced structural technologies The Flask’s striking armored body — it is clad in black anodized 5-axis machined aerospace grade aluminum; the inner flask, laser welded and made of food grade steel is wrapped in carbon fibre composite as well as treated to an intensive passivation and electro-polishing procedure — is designed to protect the investment that accompanies it: The Macallan’s first-ever, single cask All American Oak Scotch Whisky.
A mere 550 limited editions of The Flask with the accompanying 22 Years Old liquid are available for SRP $1,500, rendering this one unrivaled, iconic collectible.
First Cultivated French Black Truffle found in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 18:35
Of all the world’s culinary delicacies, truffles stand out as the ultimate luxury food. With the advent of technology to control the symbiosis between truffles and the roots of their host trees, truffles have at last entered the realm of agriculture.
On February 28,a time when they reach their peak of musky perfection, the first Périgord black truffle or Tuber melanosporum was harvested* near Corvallis, Oregon in a two-acre orchard of inoculated hazelnut trees supplied by Dr. Charles Lefevre, owner of New World Truffières, Inc. based in Eugene, OR.
Because of the price Périgord black truffles fetch on the market ( up to $1500/lb.) the orchard owner chooses to remain anonymous until security arrangements are made around the site.
This initial success comes despite naysayers claiming that Western Oregon is too wet for cultivation of Périgord truffles. Microscopic analysis by Dr. Lefevre shows spore morphology consistent with Tuber melanosporum. DNA analysis will be conducted at Oregon State University for verification.
With retail prices reaching Périgord truffles can be a very lucrative crop. And while cultivation of Périgord truffles remains a new and promising industry for American farmers, annual truffle commerce is expected to exceed $6 billion within the next two decades, rivaling many other agricultural commodities traded worldwide.
* Kris Jacobson and her Belgian Malinois, Ilsa of Umami Truffle Dogs in Veneta, Oregon were the first to dig out the truffle.
Under New Management, BYWines appoints Victor Passalacqua as Managing Partner
Written by Press Release
Thursday, 28 February 2013 17:31
Victor Passalacqua, a favorite feature in Miami’s culinary scene for over 20 years, has been appointed Managing partner at BY Wines, animporter and distributor of fine wines in Miami, Florida, under new management since January 2013.
Combining business expertise with a thorough working knowledge of wine and restaurants, the driving force behind the young company is the cutting edge team of Jan Boon, a Dutch entrepreneur, successful hotelier and savvy businessman with several companies in France, Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, and President at BY Wines, Grupo las Ballenas, Las Terrenas Country Club, B & B Caraib investment Ltd, Ohtli Inc., Managing Partner Victor Passalacqua and Vice President of Operations Melissa Boon .
BY Wines has restructured the company formerly known as Domaines Rollan de By and expanded the focus of its portfolio, elevating it from the existing stocks of high-end French wines to affordable great wines from unique boutique wineries across the world. While BY Wines still carries the award-winning Crus Bourgeois Supérieurs of Domaines Rollan de BY in the Médoc, Bordeaux, France, the role of winemaker Jean Guyon has shifted from partner in the company to that of BY Wines preferred supplier.
“We are one of the few companies stocking iconic wines like Mouton-Rothschild, Pétrus, Château Ausone and Château Le Pin, among others, and that can deliver them immediately, on demand, ” explained Mr. Passalacqua. “But we’ve also made room for unique and wonderful boutique wines from France, Spain — i.e. the famous Matarromera wineries in Ribera del Duero —, Italy, Chile, Argentina, the US and more.”
During his travels in different winemaking regions Victor Passalacqua formed solid relationships with winemakers and his aim as BY Wines’ Managing Partner is to raise the bar in restaurants’ and hotels’ wine lists. Since he worked in all areas of hospitality and service industry around the world, his insight and knowledge are invaluable to restaurants, bars, resorts and hotels alike. “Victor’s a great guy, hard-working, very knowledgeable and because he worked in some of the best places in the world he takes his work to the next level,” said Peter Knezevic , then GM at Rusty Pelican and now owner of 94 Squadron Restaurant.
Mr. Passalacqua is now joining MDC’s MCI, Miami Culinary Institute’s Wine Education program - a required course in the curriculum to graduate in Culinary Arts, and as Culinary and wine director of the Miami Wine & Spirits Expo 2014 – a joint undertaking. “We are very excited to get the By Wines team involved and to have someone like Victor who has over 20 years of experience not only in the wine but in the restaurant business that could instill that passion in the students,” said Chef Collen Engle and Chef Jose Casals of MCI’s curriculum. The spring semester classes start on Feb 25, and will continue in the summer semester. MCI is looking forward to creating classes for Continuing Education (non credit classes) open to the public. BY Wines ‘ 5000-square-feet, state-of-the-art temperature-controlled warehouse is headquartered in Miami, Florida (1305 NW 155th Drive, Miami Gardens, FL 33169). www.BY Wines.com
New Farmers’ Markets in Miami Beach and Downtown Miami.
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Friday, 01 February 2013 17:26
It used to be a weekend treat, but Farmers’ Markets are now popping with more frequency, in different locations, and even on weekdays, proving once again that Miamians are increasingly keen on sourcing local produce and other foods.
Now, neighbors can meet weekly at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden on Wednesdays , from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. , at 2000 Convention Center Drive/Miami Beach 33139, and in the heart of Downtown Brickell Area at 1101 S. Miami Avenue on Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. over fresh local produce grown in Dade County; local honey made by Redland beekeepers; freshly baked breads; French patisseries; locally made fresh mozzarella; a nice selection of prepared foods such as BBQ, salads, empanadas and such; a coffee booth featuring super premium single origin coffees; handmade soaps and creams, orchids; a nice selection of potted fresh herbs and more…
Simply Italian Great Wines Americas Tour returns to Miami on Tuesday, February 5, at the Freedom Tower, Downtown Miami
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Monday, 28 January 2013 00:00
Over 40 winemakers from all regions of Italy, from renowned producers to newcomers in the industry, will showcase their wines at this year's Simply Italian Great Wines Annual World Tour Miami.
The event organized by IEEM (International Event and Exhibition Management) and hosted by the Miami Culinary Institute at MDC will be held on Tuesday, February 5th, starting at 10:30 a.m. with morning seminars, food & wine pairings held at the state-of-the-art amphitheater at the MIAMI CULINARY INSTITUTE on MDC Wolfson Campus, 415 NE 2nd Avenue #9104, Downtown Miami, FL 33132, and from 2 to 6 p.m., a Walk Around Tasting and food pairings by participating Italian restaurants at the historic FREEDOM TOWER, 600 Biscayne Boulevard, Downtown Miami, FL 33132.
One of the highlights of the event will be the “Simply the Best” Award Ceremony at The Freedom Tower presented by the Italian Consul General – Mr. Adolfo Barattolo - to the Best Italian Restaurant, the Best Italian Wine List in restaurants, the Best Sommelier and the best communicator. Scholarships will be awarded to the Miami Culinary Institute's Best students.
Winners of each category of the Simply the Best awards will receive a complimentary visit to several wineries in Italy for a minimum stay of 3 days.
LOUISVILLE, KY— The Postal Service reissued the Wedding Cake stamp today in a 66-cent version to accommodate the 1-cent price change that goes into effect Jan. 27.
Available in panes of 20, customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, by phone at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide.
The stamp was dedicated in Louisville during the American Philatelic Society’s AmeriStamp Expo at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
The Wedding Cake stamp, introduced in 2009 and sold at the two-ounce price, accommodates the heavier weight of an invitation, as well as other mailings such as oversize cards or small gifts that require extra postage. The stamp art features a photograph taken by Renée Comet of Washington, DC, of a three-tier wedding cake topped with white flowers. The cake was created and designed by pastry chef Peter Brett of Washington, DC. Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the stamp.
Ordering First-Day Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at usps.com/stamps, or by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724).